Women who follow blood pressure-lowering diet have reduced risk for heart failure

May 11, 2009

A diet designed to prevent and treat high blood pressure also may be associated with a lower risk of heart failure among women, according to a report in the May 11 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Dietary patterns have been associated with risk factors for , but little is known about whether food choices can prevent or delay the condition, according to background information in the article. "The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet may contribute to prevention of heart failure in some cases because it effectively reduced and low-density lipoprotein [LDL, or "bad"] cholesterol levels in clinical trials," the authors write. "This diet features high intake of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and whole grains, resulting in high , magnesium, calcium and fiber consumption, moderately high protein consumption and low total and saturated fat consumption."

Emily B. Levitan, Sc.D., of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, and colleagues analyzed data from 36,019 women ages 48 to 83 without heart failure who were participating in the Swedish Mammography Cohort. Participants completed a food frequency questionnaire at the beginning of the study, between 1997 and 1998, that was used to calculate a score indicating how closely their diets matched DASH guidelines. The women were followed up from 1998 through 2004 using Swedish databases of hospitalizations and deaths.

During the seven-year follow-up, 443 women developed heart failure, including 415 who were hospitalized and 28 who died of the condition. Compared with the one-fourth of women with the lowest DASH diet scores, the one-fourth of women with the highest DASH diet scores had a 37 percent lower rate of heart failure after factors such as age, physical activity and smoking were considered. Women whose scores placed them in the top 10 percent had half the rate of heart failure compared with the one-fourth who had the lowest scores.

Previous studies have shown that the DASH diet lowers systolic (top number) blood pressure by about 5.5 millimeters of mercury, a decrease that might be expected to reduce the rate of heart failure by about 12 percent, the authors note. Other mechanisms by which this eating pattern may influence heart failure risk include the reduction of LDL cholesterol, estrogen-like effects of some of the nutrients in the diet and a decrease in oxygen-related cell damage.

"In conclusion, greater consistency with the DASH diet as measured using food-frequency questionnaires was associated with lower rates of heart failure in middle-aged and elderly living in Sweden," the authors write.

More information: Arch Intern Med. 2009;169[9]:851-857

Source: JAMA and Archives Journals (news : web)

Explore further: Is UK shale gas extraction posing a risk to public health?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Most with high blood pressure do not follow recommended diet

Feb 11, 2008

A relatively small proportion of individuals with hypertension (high blood pressure) eat diets that align with government guidelines for controlling the disease, according to a report in the February 11 issue of Archives ...

Most with high blood pressure do not follow recommended diet

Feb 11, 2008

A relatively small proportion of individuals with hypertension (high blood pressure) eat diets that align with government guidelines for controlling the disease, according to a report in the February 11 issue of Archives ...

Drinking milk may help ease the pressure

Feb 20, 2008

Women who drank more fat free milk and had higher intakes of calcium and vitamin D from foods, and not supplements, tended to have a lower risk for developing hypertension or high blood pressure, according to a new study ...

Soy nuts may improve blood pressure in postmenopausal women

May 28, 2007

Substituting soy nuts for other protein sources in a healthy diet appears to lower blood pressure in postmenopausal women, and also may reduce cholesterol levels in women with high blood pressure, according to a report in ...

Recommended for you

Obama: 8 million signed up for health care (Update)

8 hours ago

President Barack Obama said Thursday 8 million Americans have signed up for health care through new insurance exchanges, besting expectations and offering new hope to Democrats who are defending the law ahead ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Chronic inflammation linked to 'high-grade' prostate cancer

Men who show signs of chronic inflammation in non-cancerous prostate tissue may have nearly twice the risk of actually having prostate cancer than those with no inflammation, according to results of a new study led by researchers ...

Turning off depression in the brain

Scientists have traced vulnerability to depression-like behaviors in mice to out-of-balance electrical activity inside neurons of the brain's reward circuit and experimentally reversed it – but there's ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...